Please note: this review is for the 2008 season rather than the current season.

The Dark Side Haunted Adventure

by dirkadirka (Newbie Review Crew Member) after attending on Saturday, October 18, 2008 at about 5 p.m.

Fun Factor: Very High Fear Factor: Medium

Review

By day, the Glacier Rock Farm is an outdoor classroom for schoolchildren to learn and explore the beautiful Kettle Moraine scenery.  At night the scene morphs into a spooky monstrosity known as the Dark Side that sprawls across all 100 acres and includes a haunted mine, hayrack ride, haunted trail, and corn maze.  Are those cute Shetland ponies actually undead flesh-eating zombie horses controlled by the freaks and demons of the Dark Side? Probably.

Signage / Visibility / Location


Usually googlemaps is sufficient, but I got lost trying to find this haunt.  There is a sign at the end of the lane, but one in Ashippun would really help.  Street signs are small and dark in this rural area, but that just adds to the adventure.

Wait Area / Line Entertainment


Because this is a multi-attraction haunt there are several different wait areas as you progress deeper into the rotten heart of the Dark Side. If it is a chilly night $1 hot cocao and cider from the gift shop will make the initial wait more bearable. The last two wait areas both have toasty bonfires but no marshmallows. There were no actors to entertain those waiting but whatever; I would rather put those actors in the woods and fields anyways.

Actors' Performance


All of the creatures inhabiting the forests, cornfields, and mine did a great job.  Most of them successfully used the old-school scare tactics of surprise and loud noises, and having a chainsaw in your hands makes it easy to be terrifying.  Probably more actors than I have seen in any one haunt location so far this year and many of them manage to scare you more than once.  My favorite actor was a young guy who got stepped on by almost every group that went by.  He's got to be pretty dedicated and tough to be taking that kind of abuse.  There also seemed to be a lot of clowns although I don't remember a circus theme anywhere.

Sets Scenes / Props / FX


Of the four different attractions, the hayride was by far our favorite.  The creators designed great sets that reach down and touch your face while you're constantly on the lookout for the next monster.  Sharing the scares with the whole group is fun because you start laughing at someone else's screams, but then you get spooked and the laughter is returned.  The production value will not blow your mind but the craftsmanship and unique touches make the Dark Side different than anything else you will find this Halloween season. 

Length


Clear your nightly haunt schedule because this one took us an hour to get through, seriously.  Probably 20 minutes were spent in the four waiting areas but this is still the longest haunt I have been to.  The anticipation from being outside and hearing screams from both your group and those a half mile away keeps your blood pumping during the down times.

Most Memorable Moment


It took some convincing, but my parents accompanied me on the trip to the Dark Side.  The last time either of them joined me, my chauffer dad was sleeping in the van waiting for my 14 year old friends and I to finish our hauntings for the night so he could take us to Pizza Hut, a yearly tradition.  They both really enjoyed the experience, especially the hayrack ride. I enjoyed hearing my mom scream and swear every time she got scared.

Summary

The Dark Side is absolutely worth a drive out into the country and is a perfect haunted destination if you are part of a large group.  The operators are good people, the actors are dedicated, you get four completely different experiences in one place, and everything costs only ten dollars.  At a price that low I almost felt like making a donation or starting a tip jar because I definitely got my money's worth.  Be sure to bring a sweatshirt and old shoes because there is a lot of walking and some of it can be muddy and treacherous in the dark. 

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April 25th, 2024 2:29 a.m. CDT 24.07